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Ross The Boss Interview with Marc Lopes




Ross The Boss

Interview with Marc Lopes

By Nina McCarthy, Senior Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio


Guitarist Ross the Boss’ stature in the history of hard rock and heavy metal has been well-solidified for decades by this point - with a resume including some of the most influential and hardest-hitting bands of all-time, particularly both the Dictators and Manowar.


Fast forward to 2018...

Ross The Boss Bans finished recording an album of original material in early 2018 featuring Marc Lopes (Let Us Prey) on vocals, Mike Lepond (Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins & Symphony X) on bass and Lance Barnewold on drums. The band will be touring globally all year.


I had the honor of sitting down with frontman, Marc Lopes, both a friend and well known name in the local New England metal scene, before they jetted off worldwide.



BRR:  Do you find that diehard Manowar fans are critical of the Ross the Boss lineup or have they been embracing the change?


ML:  At first they were awful but now a lot of them have warmed up to it, now that we've done what we've done for over a year now.  With the new record coming out (released 4/20) they’ll know that it's not just a freaking Manowar  tribute” so to say.  I hate even saying that word because we were working with the guy that wrote the best material they ever had. But yeah, absolutely critical and you know what, as fan I would I would totally be the same way. Like with Iron Maiden for me.  You're never going to be better than the original people that did it.  I get it, but the thing is you've got to remember something. The people that drive me nuts are the ones that say it’s not Manowar.  I didn’t join fucking Manowar.  It’s not like when Todd joined Queensryche or the dude that joined Journey. If you join the band, then that’s to be expected. They’re all great but there are still going to be people that hate them.  Ross The Boss is a whole different band and I interpret it the way that works for me.  If a lot of people like it, cool, if a lot of people don't, whatever.


BRR:  You're not Eric and Mike isn't Joey, but the music is amazing. Can you just relate how Ross found you and you became vocalist?


ML:  The short version is I filled in with a band that was opening for Ross in Long Island and he liked what I did and he needed a singer so he asked if I could do. And I said, Yeah.”  It’s not like I sing Manowar on a regular basis so I kind of winged it. That's why in the beginning it was rough because I mean I basically had like a week and a half to learn the set then go on tour, so it was crazy. But we learned as we went along.


BRR:  played Wacken Open Air last year in front of 70,000 people, which was totally a new experience for you.


ML:  Actually like 85,000 people.


BRR:  You played the Rock Hard Festival too.


ML:  That was 12,000.  That was my warmup.


BRR:  Obviously, it was a dream come true, but how was the experience?  Did you pee your pants?


ML;  No! I was nervous, of course.  It's surreal. The thing I really think was a bummer was we had a lot of technical issues during the set because it had just rained. It just flashed rained and my monitors were going out. Ross’ guitar was cutting out.  I wear in-ears, so when it went out it was silent...talk about being shit scared when all of a sudden there's nothing there and it's like oh my god I got to do these tunes and you look over to your side and there are 80,000 people looking at you, it’s like “Fuck!”  I can't really describe the experience. It's just it's surreal.


BRR:  So besides pizza, how do you keep your energy up and your voice going on tour when you’re playing night after night?


ML:  The pizza thing is more comedy than anything. I mean, I love pizza but if I ate that shit all the time, I’d be a fucking mess. I work out every day. I have my own little road routine and I try to eat as healthy as possible. I just got endorsed by a really cool supplement company, so I've been doing that.  The supplement company is all natural too. So, just trying to keep things grounded. The show is the least stressful part of the whole tour; It’s everything else, the chaos, people not knowing what the fuck is going on.


BRR: Do you find it hard to keep your voice going?  Do you have any special teas?


ML: There are certain things that I'll do when it gets a little rough. I try not to talk too much and try to get as much sleep as possible and that's the worst thing for me because I don't sleep that good.  That’s the key, to sleep a lot.


BRR:  Now, you're still going to continue on with Let Us Prey, right?


ML:  Oh absolutely.  We actually have some really big stuff coming up with that but I had to put that a little bit on the back seat because of the RTB record coming out and touring.  I do it in tandem because those are my two babies.


BRR:  By Blood Sworn dropped April 20th via AFM/Soulfood Records.  Tell me about the album.  


ML:  It's a metal record.  There is a lot of variety on it. For me, it was a very interesting experience because there were alot of elements of the record that I've never written to before because I’m into the more Scandinavian metal like Soilwork and old In Flames and old Priest, so kind of meld those things together with some thrash and Nevermore. So this is straight ahead old school metal and it has some blues vibe to it.


BRR:  Is Ross is letting you do a lot of your own writing?


ML:  I wrote everything with him. I wrote everything with Mike (LePond).  There is actually one song on the record that me and John, my guitar player from Let Us Prey, wrote called “We Are The Night.” It's interesting because it's nothing we would ever write with Let Us Prey. It sounds like something off Slayer's Seasons In The Abyss, slow but it has a Judas Priest vibe to it. There's a lot of really cool stuff on it and it's a very diverse type of metal record.  It was cool that Ross let me use my style to do it, so there is some death metal on there  and there are some crazy stupidly high screaming stuff and there’s all kinds of shit going on.  Put it this way, it's not a record that Ross has ever done before but there's tons of Manowar-isms in there, of course. There's actually a couple of intentional things that I did as a tribute to Manowar.


BRR:  Now your tour started Wednesday with a canceled show in Pennsylvania and goes through March 24th ending in Illinois.  Then you're heading to  Australian and Europe to tour. Are there any special venues or cities you you're looking for to?


ML:  I can't wait to go to Australia (where they are currently). I've never been. Ross has never toured the United States yet, so this is a test run because metal is tough here.  It’s different, so Ross had to build a following here again, hopefully with this record. But overseas it's great.  Australia is going to be fucking ridiculous.  I'm looking forward to...we might be going to Russia too. I love Europe.


BRR:  I think they appreciate the music more in Europe.


ML:  Because it's part of culture. It's not just something you do on a Saturday.  You know, it's fucking Thursday and people are bitching.  We’re in Europe and we're selling out shows on Monday, on a fucking Monday!  The first time it happened I'm like, “There's people here on a Monday?”  We're not talking 100 people; we're talking like 500-600 people on a Monday in a town I can’t pronounce.  People come out on a Monday and they don’t give a fuck because it’s culture.  So, I’m looking forward to everywhere because it's all great, Especially now because we've been over there four times already and it gets better every time and doing all the bigger festivals is definitely opening a lot of doors.  Now with the new record and the label really pushing behind, we've got some big festivals coming up again this year.   So, yeah, I'm looking forward to it all.


BRR:  On tour, you'll be doing originals and Manowar songs, correct?


ML:  On this tour in the US, we’re only doing Manowar set.  When we go to Europe we're going to stick a couple RTB tunes from the new album in.  Let's be honest, people want to see the Manowar stuff and that's okay. It is what it is. That happens to so many people that are legacy artists.  We’re never going to go out there and play all of our shit  I accept and I accept that.  If people like me singing the other stuff than I'm happy.  I give it everything I have. People forget that I am a fan. I love that stuff.  Eric is one of my favorite singers ever and he's probably the most difficult vocalist to try to sing anything from, even more than Dickinson and Halford, because he's got such a nastiness to him yet keeps notes going and that’s hard to do. It's a very weird thing and that's why I had to hybred it to my own because I just can’t do it.




BRR:  You can certainly hit those high notes, but maybe it’s the tight pants?


ML:  Thank you, but what’s funny is, a lot of people can hit the notes but it's how you hit them, doing it with feeling and mean it.  People know.  If you're just fucking phoning it in, as they say, then they know.  But if you give it meaning then that's what they catch onto.


BRR:  Absolutely.  I had some questions for Ross, but since he’s busy, I’ll conclude there. Do you have anything else you’d like to add?


ML:  I'll just like to thank everybody for the support. It's been a crazy wild road so far and I can't thank everybody enough that supported it.  I'm not going anywhere anytime soon so if you hate me continuing to do so. You can’t make everybody happy.






With Ross “The Boss” Friedman


Marc & Ross


Mike LePond

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